The Ghazi Attack Review (NO SPOILERS): A Movie My Grandfather Would Love

This is a classic submarine movie.  A very specific genre, which also happens to be my grandfather’s favorite.  I cannot WAIT for this film to be available on Netflix so I can send it to him!  If only there had been even more underwater shenanigans and videos of little toy boats moving in bathtubs, and slightly less patriotic stupidity.

You know how we never see the faces of the stormtroopers in Star Wars and it’s a super obvious way of making us not care when they die but at the same time it’s fine because this is a fable and a fairy tale and a kids’ movie, so the bad guys should just be faceless nameless “bad guys”?  Yeah, there is something similar here with the Pakistanis, making them just ridiculously eeeeeeeeeeeeeevil.  Only, these are/were actual people!  Not just cloned brainwashed masked people from a fairy tale, but real people who existed in the past and who are similar to people who exist in the present.  So, I have a bit of a hard time with just how incredibly bad they were made to be, for no reason beyond their nationality.  That’s my biggest issue with the film.  Oh, and also, how everyone who assumes their complete evilness and untrustworthiness is proved right.

But there is a bunch of other stuff that works really well for me.  The performances, for one thing.  Kay Kay Menon was as delightful and entertaining as always.  I couldn’t recognize his face with the beard and turban and all, but I suddenly recognized him about 15 minutes into the movie when he did a classic Kay Kay Menon random hand movement.  Atul Kulkarni was also interesting.  I don’t know why he doesn’t work more, I always enjoy seeing him onscreen.

(Still his greatest performance in my book)

Rana Daggubatti has been getting various accolades, and he got the primary place on the poster, and I really could not see why for about the first 2/3rds of the film.  He was fine, certainly the most traditionally attractive of the characters, but kind of a by the numbers character and performance that was more about re-acting than acting.  And then suddenly in the last 40 minutes or so it all clicks into place.  I was watching it and I caught myself thinking “well, it’s not like he’s acting here, he really is a kind of young and uncertain newbie”.  And then I remembered, no, wait!  He is a DECADE into his career!  The last movie I saw with him, he was playing a middle-aged man!  Being able to so completely inhabit a young man trying to live up to unexpected responsibility, to the point that I completely forgot he wasn’t doing that in real life, that is impressive!

Oh, and Taapsee Pannu is also there.  Kind of an obvious tacked on character so we have someone female.  Difficult to accomplish on a submarine. Doesn’t have much to do in the end.  But okay for what she is.

The real star, though, is the submarine.  The film takes its time getting us familiar with the space while other boring stuff is happening, so by the time we get to all those moments of diving and surfacing and rotating and torpedoes and all, we feel like we know the place and are used to moving within it.  And I can even recognize the outside of it!  Speaking of Star Wars again, I am still not quite clear on the difference between the “good guy” fighter ships and the “bad guy” fighter ships.  But in this one, they managed to always give me an angle on the ship so I could tell which was the “good” one and which was the “bad” one.

So, yeah, if you feel like watching a bunch of Grandpa approved undersea maneuvers, with some pretty jingoistic nationalism, and really great performances, this is the film for you!

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19 thoughts on “The Ghazi Attack Review (NO SPOILERS): A Movie My Grandfather Would Love

  1. Wonder why they didn’t rope in Akshay Kumar.This sounds just like his cup of tea.Atul Kulkarni is one of the most underrated actors in Bollywood.He’s got serious credentials -National Award winner and NSD alumnee.

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    • It’s a good cast, for sure, but it’s also a well-balanced cast. All three of the male leads (Atul and Kay Kay and Rana) get equal screen time and big moments and all that. Akshay would have been great in the film, but it would have kind of ruined that vibe, you know? Of course, maybe they only went with the balanced vibe after they tried to get a big star and had no luck.

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      • The story I heard is that the director, Sankalp Reddy, wanted to make this into a 1 hour short film and upload it on youtube since he couldn’t find any producers to make this into a feature film. He spent about 25 lakhs on building a set and doing a test shoot when Rana found out about it. Rana liked the story a lot and I think he is the one who brought in PVP Cinema which is run by Prasad V. Potluri (a super rich Telugu NRI who tries to run his production house like a those Bollywood studios that now closed down. He’s had quite a few big budget flops but he’s made a few small budget gems too.). Anyway, Rana also told Karan about the movie when working together for Baahubali. Karan really liked what he saw of the movie which led to Dharma productions being involved too.

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        • Oh that is fascinating! I wonder if that is why the two halves felt so different? And the second half felt so much more vital? If his original 1 hour film was just the sea battle, and then he had to tack on some emotional stuff to expand it?

          Also, I immediately looked up Potluri to see what kind of NRI he is and if I might know him. Michigan! I do not know him, but that’s where my aunts went to school. So now I feel a bond.

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          • I’m not sure about Ghazi, I haven’t seen it yet. I think I may not get a chance to see it until next weekend.

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          • It’s a good film. But if you only see one movie, I might recommend running shaadi instead. Unless you have a preference for action versus rom com. But all things being equal, I found running shaadi better made and more interesting.

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  2. I just watched the trailer. It will be perfect for your grandfather. But, how did they manage to get Taapsee Pannu onto the submarine? It’s not like her car broke down and she needs a ride to the next village.

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  3. “I have a bit of a hard time with just how incredibly bad they were made to be, for no reason beyond their nationality.”
    oh really! INS ghazi was out to destroy India’s carrier and also planned to destroy whole Indian eastern seaboard. But they didnt know about ‘ruse de guerre'(TO FOOL ENEMY IN WARTIME). So ridiculously showing bad was justified(and its a freakin’ movie). This was during Indo-pak war(1965). But U being an American obviously & definitely wont understand.

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    • I don’t know, I always have a hard time with one-dimensional evil villains. No matter what nationality they are supposed to be. It’s just bad writing. Again, unless it is clearly supposed to be a simple children’s story with obvious villains and heroes.

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  4. Pingback: The Ghazi Attack SPOILERS Review: I Wish There Was More Submarine Maneuvering! It’s What I Came For! – dontcallitbollywood

      • Yeah, Rana’s grandfather is Rama Naidu who was a film producer who owned Suresh Productions. Rama Naidu who mostly made movies in Telugu, Hindi, and Tamil. I remember hearing that he was in the Guiness Book of World Records for most movies produced or something like that. It looks like his most popular Hindi movie was Prem Nagar starring Rajesh Khanna which was a remake of the Telugu original that he also produced. He also seemed to have done quite a few Hindi movies with Jeetendra and Anil Kapoor in the 1980s and 1990s. Rama Naidu’s son, Venkatesh, is also an actor. I think you’ve seen his Kshana Kshanam so far. Rana’s launch wasn’t typical as he decided to debut in a political drama called Leader instead of choosing a love story. He was appreciated but his next two Telugu movies, which were more commercial, didn’t do well. So I think that’s when Rana went to Hindi and Tamil cinema. I don’t think any of his Telugu movies were hits after his debut though a couple got critical acclaim. And then Rajamouli signed Rana for Baahubali because he’s the only one that could physically challenge Prabhas in Telugu. And now Rana is more popular, though I don’t think he’ll ever be a huge star.

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        • That’s fascinating background. I always thought of Rana as “cute southern dude who couldn’t make it in Hindi films”. But it sounds more like he is “cute southern dude who never really tried to make it in Hindi or anywhere else, just wanted to do interesting work”. And really really interesting to think of his casting in Bahubaali being based purely on size! Either I didn’t realized how large both heroes are, or I didn’t realize how small all the other actors in Telugu films are.

          On Wed, Feb 22, 2017 at 4:39 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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          • Yeah, Rana always came across as one of those actors that never cared about the language that he was acting in as long as his character was interesting.

            Most of the Telugu heroes barring Mahesh Babu, Prabhas, Rana, and Pawan Kalyan are under 6ft. Mahesh and Pawan Kalyan are much bigger stars than Prabhas so it would not be possible to play a villain against Prabhas or give up that much time for a movie where they aren’t the lead. There are other supporting actors that could match Prabhas’s size but I think Rajamouli wanted a more known face so Bhallaladeva becomes more than just a villain. I’m sure that Rana was also one of the few actors that were willing to give so much time to the movie. I mean, they started shooting for Baahubali in 2013 and they finally finished part 2 last month. Rajamouli still wants Prabhas to keep his look until the release in case there are any last minute scenes that need to be shot. Rajamouli is a demanding director and he’s a perfectionist.

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          • Well, as a 5’9″ woman who thinks of 6 feet as “normal” height for a man (hey, it’s what every man in my family looks like!), I will try to restrict myself to Mahesh, Prabhas, and Rana. Oh! Does this mean I have to stop loving Nagarjuna? Tell me the truth, is he shorter than my “normal”?

            On Wed, Feb 22, 2017 at 6:00 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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          • Phew! Of course, there’s still the massive age difference, but I feel we can get past that.

            On Wed, Feb 22, 2017 at 11:39 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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